The Handmaid’s Tale
The Canadian author Margaret Atwood imagined this near-future dystopia way back in 1985 — before dystopia was cool. You can also watch the Amazon remake of the book, but we vote for reading the original first.
The Last Unicorn
It’s not a children’s book, but it’s still suitable for children. It’s not a genre book, but if you love genre fiction, you’ll love it. It’s a unique story about the last living unicorn who “lived in a lilac wood and lived all alone.” It’s a special book and probably a good story to read to kids.
The City and The City
The weirdest book on this list, it’s hard to even explain exactly what happens. At its core, it’s a crime noir thriller set in a world in which two cities overlap each other in time and space, and there are rules and laws about how people are allowed to interact. This book is a short but mind-bending read. If you like detective stories or mysteries but want something stranger and more rewarding, this book is for you.
This one is pure fantasy, set in an imaginary medieval world, and with all the tropes that make fantasy predictable. But it’s much more than that; it’s a story of two lives — two friends who live as outsiders and come together, break apart and then reunite once more through decades of war, intrigue, and love.
Slaughter House Five
Kurt Vonnegut was a humorist and satirist. Many of his stories also had a science-fiction plot. Vonnegut managed to survive the firebombing of the German city of Dresden when he was an American infantry soldier in WWII, and it plays a big part in this book. Comedic but tinged with sorrow, it’s a critical anti-war book about time traveling. And if that doesn’t make sense, you should fix that now by reading the book.
The Once and Future King
Do you like stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable? If not, you should read this book anyway. It’s a retelling of this famous legend through the viewpoint of the young child who would grow up to be King Arthur. Merlin is central to the story as his tutor. You should read it for the sheer joy that the author’s beautiful articulated words will bring you.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell
Do you like costume dramas set in England at the height of the Napoleonic War? Of course, who doesn’t? If you want a long read and a book filled with memorable characters you can spend the entire summer reading, check this book out. Part historical fiction, part fantasy, it imagines a Napoleonic era England where magic is a very real force.